Your Oct. 13 issue was one of your worst. You call your section on Hockey 1980-81 a scouting report? I expected to see a team-by-team critique but instead was subjected to an opinionated essay by some less-than-knowing writer. Maybe next year you can resume the form that SI is known for.
I loved Kathy Blumenstock's scouting reports, except for her prediction that the Flyers and Islanders will repeat in the Stanley Cup final. I think it will be the Islanders and the Sabres.
BRIAN A. VASEY
New Haven, Conn.
"Just ordinary"? Of all the insulting remarks you could possibly make about the Montreal Canadiens, "ordinary" is the most ridiculous. Kathy Blumenstock's scouting reports will be saved and referred to in May when the Stanley Cup comes to rest in its true home: the Montreal Forum.
We Minnesotans know that the North Stars will decisively win the Stanley Cup.
The NHL has done a lot of stupid things, but the new Rule No. 54 on fighting has to take the cake. I witnessed a Chicago-St. Louis exhibition game in which a brawl erupted in the third period. Instead of heading to a neutral position on the ice, however, the players who were not fighting grabbed each other—as they always do.
To make a long story short, more than 100 minutes in penalties were assessed. In addition, Referee Bryan Lewis spent about 10 minutes trying to explain the penalties to the scorekeeper, while fans littered the ice with debris.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. After all, this is the NHL: hear no brawling, see no brawling, say nothing about brawling.
GEORGE C. REED
REFORMING THE NHL
Mark Mulvoy's letter to NHL President John Ziegler (Dear John, Oct. 13) was the finest piece I've ever read in SI. Finally the feelings of hockey fans—or should I say those who would like to be hockey fans?—were put down in print. However, Mulvoy's letter was the only part of the hockey preview I read, because until the NHL changes, I have no interest in the trivial details of that ridiculous league.
If you keep allowing Mark Mulvoy to write this kind of article, you're going to lose him to the front office of the NHL. The problem is: Could the NHL handle that much improvement in one year?
I commend Mark Mulvoy on his letter, particularly his suggestion for realigning the NHL. A three-division, seven-team setup is the answer. Also, having 11 games against divisional rivals and one each against the rest of the clubs is the best idea I've heard. But I differ on two other points:
First, only eight teams, not 12, should make the playoffs—three divisional champs and five wild-card teams, based on total points. Thus, no team would be a shoo-in just because it was second or third in its division. It would have to prove itself in comparison to the whole league.
Second, I feel it would be foolish to invite a European team to the playoffs. Can you imagine the effect on the North American fans and on the NHL if the Stanley Cup were shipped across the Atlantic? The players would be especially hurt if, after struggling through 80 games plus playoffs, they lost to a team that hadn't played half as many games or competed against as hard-hitting teams as, say, the Islanders or Flyers. I can just picture the 1982 Stanley Cup finals: the Soviets win the Cup in Buffalo, and World War III begins when nobody will let them out of the Aud.
North Tonawanda, N.Y.
Mark Mulvoy's supposedly brilliant realignment of the NHL eliminates some natural rivalries. For example, Buffalo and Toronto are within 100 miles of each other, and Punch Imlach, who built the Sabres, now masterminds the Maple Leafs. Also, when the Canadiens and Sabres meet, no better hockey can be found anywhere. Yet under Mulvoy's plan, these matchups would occur only once each season.
KENNETH M. HUGHES
State College, Pa.
THE SUTTER BROTHERS
How long can SI go on deploring violence in hockey while celebrating good ole boys like young Richie Sutter who's "going to be a helluva pro," at least partly because, you seem to say, he issues challenges even before games start? SI seems to think that's spunky, but when a hockey brawl ends up with someone in the hospital, you people look all over the place for someone to blame. Maybe it's your fault for applauding goonish behavior in a magazine widely read by young athletes.
For Sutter's sake, I hope he sticks his nose into the wrong locker room soon again and this time learns some hockey manners. In the meantime, SI, you can't have it both ways.
But, but, but the people at Playboy have to be wrong (19TH HOLE, Oct. 6). Through the cold winters on the frozen plains of Eastern Washington the one thing that kept us warm was the knowledge that with the spring sun Washington State would once again attain its place in the pantheon of party schools. My freshman composition teacher told me that in 1965, and I've believed it so firmly ever since that I bet I could tell a polygraph that I'd actually seen a copy of the story and the needles wouldn't even quiver. As I recall our version of the story, the schools joining Washington State in the "pro" league—i.e., too tough to even rate with the mortals—were Arizona State, San Jose State and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Los Altos, Calif.
In September 1968 Playboy did publish "A Swinger's Guide to Academe," in which the University of Wisconsin was ranked No. 1 in "permissiveness" and defined as "the party school." Virginia and West Virginia weren't even mentioned.
WILLIAM E. FISHER
I'd like to put to rest the controversy between Virginia and West Virginia over which is the No. 1 party school. Since no one has yet confirmed the existence of any such ranking, the only alternative is to battle it out on the football field. On Oct. 4 West Virginia beat Virginia 45-21. We're willing to accept this as consolation.
Morgantown, W. Va.
STEADFAST FAN (CONT.)
I have another chapter to offer in the ongoing saga of Charles C. Brownmiller, Lafayette-Lehigh football watcher extraordinaire. Twenty years ago, when Brownmiller, Lafayette '17, attended his 50th consecutive Lafayette-Lehigh game, you covered it in FACES IN THE CROWD (Nov. 28, 1960). His 67th was covered in 19th HOLE via a letter from me (Dec. 5, 1977). This year on Nov. 22, as Brownmiller goes for No. 70, we are planning to honor him at a pregame brunch. At the same time, we will also be saluting Roger Conners, Lafayette '28, who will be seeing his 71st consecutive Lafayette-Lehigh clash. Conners, who is from Easton, Pa. and, therefore, a townie, obviously started quite young. I just wonder if these two men, with a total of 141 consecutive annual games between them, might have set some sort of collegiate alumni record.
I suggest you give the Sportsman of the Year award to Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Chuck Noll, whose work and philosophy have long gone unacclaimed. Your two-part article on him earlier this year (Man Not Myth, July 21 and The Teacher, July 28) gave us a good look at a fine man. Let's reward him for putting together the greatest football team of all time. Noll's success and modesty make him a true Sportsman.
I know that this is the year of the miracle hockey victory in the Olympics and that Jack Nicklaus, Steve Carlton, Miruts Yifter, Magic Johnson, etc., are deserving, but let's have a little respect for our elders. Frank McGuire, the recently retired coach at South Carolina, has done a great deal for college basketball, while exhibiting a special charm, class and style. If he isn't the Sportsman of this year, special recognition is due him from SI, whose pages he has graced so often and so well.
JAMES J. CORBETT
I nominate Bear Bryant.
John McEnroe. I think his behavior in the U.S. Open and Wimbledon finals was perfectly justified. For all the pleasure he gives us tennis fans, we can put up with his antics.
Olympia Fields, Ill.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.